2. Kyle Kuzma
This may upset some people, as Kyle Kuzma has the biggest hype train in the entire NBA right now. Rightfully so, as well. Kuzma has developed this chemistry alongside fellow rookie Lonzo Ball that cannot be matched, leading to some jaw-dropping performances from both men. Kuzma and Ball lead the Lakers to the NBA Summer League Title, Ball winning the MVP and Kuzma winning the Finals MVP.
Of course, in typical NBA skepticism, many pointed to the level of competition in the Summer League. Only consisting of first and second-year players, the argument was made that this did not come against viable NBA defenses. However, Kuzma continued to thrive and took his scoring onslaughts to the NBA preseason, against viable NBA defenders.
Kuzma scored more 15 or more points in all but one game this preseason. Overall, the young forward averaged 17.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 27.8 minutes. Kuzma shot 51.4% from the field while shooting 24.2% from beyond the arc.
As impressive as Kuzma has been, he should not be slotted in the starting role unless Julius Randle does suffer serious injury. Kuzma brings a scoring presence that has thrived off the bench, in the starting five, the young forward will be more prone to harder defenses.
Plus, Kuzma is still very green. He is yet to play a minute of NBA action in the regular season, and Walton needs to see what he can do first. While he may not be on the bench for long, he definitely should start there.
Los Angeles needs Kuzma behind Brandon Ingram, who has been struggling, at the small forward position.